Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area
Latest News9 January 2017
Without fanfare, a conservation success story is unfolding just over the border in southern Mozambique. If you are a lover of wild places, this may just be the best kept secret in southern Africa. read more
Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area includes four distinct transfrontier conservation areas between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, covering a total area of 10 029km2.cheapmenswatches
Lubombo Conservancy-Goba-Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA (Mozambique/ South Africa/Swaziland)
Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA (Mozambique/South Africa)
Nsubane-Pongola TFCA (South Africa/Swaziland)
Songimvelo-Malolotja TFCA (South Africa/Swaziland)
Globally it is one of the most striking areas of biodiversity and lies in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism. It also includes five Ramsar sites: Ndumo Game Reserve, the Kosi Bay System, Lake Sibaya, the Turtle Beaches and Coral Reefs of Tongaland, and Lake St Lucia, which at 350km² is the largest estuary in Africa.
On 22 June 2000, four protocols were signed to establish the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area. The inclusion of a fifth component, the Songimvelo-Malolotja TFCA and the incorporation of Swaziland into the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA were formally approved at a trilateral ministerial meeting in 2004.
In March 2014, the Lubombo Commission decided to merge the Lubombo Conservancy-Goba TFCA with the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA, linking the Lebombo Mountain Ecosystem with the coastal plains. This decision, based on landscape-planning and ecosystems considerations, will streamline institutional arrangements and also benefit the communities in Swaziland. The new boundary reflects an initial consolidation phase and will focus on three core transboundary areas:
Maputo Special Reserve-Tembe Elephant Park-Bekhula-Tsanini Community Conservation Area
Catuane-Ndumo Game Reserve-Usuthu Gorge Community Conservation Area-Mambane Community Conservation Area
Of the four sub-TFCAs, Peace Parks Foundation’s work has been concentrated on the Mozambican sections of the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA and Africa's first Marine TFCA, the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA.
Lubombo boasts the first marine transfrontier conservation area (TFCA) in Africa, the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA, where Mozambique's Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve turtle monitoring programme links up with the one across the border in South Africa's iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Community members are appointed as turtle monitors, annual training is provided, and daily patrols are conducted during turtle nesting and hatching season between October and April. Turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs are checked, measured and tagged on this protected coastline that is a haven for the critically endangered leatherback and critically endangered loggerhead sea turtles.
The establishment of Lubombo will also reunite the last naturally occurring elephant populations of KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique, which historically moved freely across the border along the Futi system and Rio Maputo floodplains.
On 14 June 2011 – in one of the Lubombo TFCA’s most important developments – the Mozambican government proclaimed the Futi Corridor as an extension of Maputo Special Reserve, thereby expanding the reserve by 24 000 ha. Only the international border fence between Mozambique and South Africa now separates Maputo Special Reserve from Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa.
In 2014, a joint operations strategy for the Maputo Special Reserve / Tembe Elephant Park component was signed into force by the relevant authorities and approved by the Lubombo Commission. The strategy called for the formation of a park management committee, which was formally established in July 2014.
In March 2016, thanks to the excellent cross-border cooperation between the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve in Mozambique and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa, a gill net measuring 20 x 3 metres was removed from the ocean, where it had been trapping marine life.
At the end of September, the Maputo Special Reserve/Tembe Elephant Park management committee conducted an aerial census to determine the status of the large herbivore species in Maputo Special Reserve, with a focus on the species that had been reintroduced. The census was made possible by funding from the National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) and Peace Parks Foundation. In 2006, Peace Parks Foundation and ANAC signed a cooperation agreement to develop and manage Maputo Special Reserve.
The most abundant species in the reserve are hippo, reedbuck, elephant, grey duiker, red duiker, blue wildebeest and zebra, with the giraffe population increasing steadily. Reedbuck still has the highest population numbers, estimated at 2 611 individuals. Since 2015, blue wildebeest have increased from 276 to 351 and zebra from 303 to 446. There are also an estimated 400 elephant, 750 hippo, 405 red duiker, 200 impala, 350 kudu, 100 warthog and 230 nyala in the reserve. Most of the reintroduced species populations remain concentrated in the south of the reserve but are beginning to disperse north- and eastwards from their initial release locations.
As part of the World Bank’s Mozambique Conservation Areas for Biodiversity and Development Project (Mozbio) programme, a further 199 impala, 60 zebra and 60 wildebeest were translocated from Big Game Parks in Swaziland, and 204 waterbuck and 50 warthog from Gorongosa National Park, to Maputo Special Reserve in November. Altogether 1 628 animals have been brought into the reserve since 2010, in a multi-year endeavour supported by the governments of Mozambique and South Africa, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Peace Parks Foundation.